XMRV and Autism: Best conflict of interest EVAH!

Im totally done with XMRV-->CFS. It appears that scientists have gotten their heads back, and this last slew of testing was officially the death-blow for this hypothesis for me: Theres no XMRV in HIV-1 patients. Three studies now, not to find an association between the two. HIV/AIDS patients get everything and anything, and when they get it, it is pathogenic (even if its no big deal in fully healthy humans). Unless of course, XMRV is, once again the 'exception' to basic biology/immunology/retrovirology.

Can XMRV infect humans? Almost certainly. Does it, and does it cause disease? I highly doubt it, at this point.

But what will I do without my XMRV drama?

Have no fear-- I have just read, quite possibly, one of the funniest papers EVAH!

PCR and serology find no association between xenotropic murine leukemia virus-
related virus (XMRV) and autism

The paper itself is straight forward-- they looked in autistic and autistic spectrum patients, plus a mixed group of healthy controls (healthy family members, random blood donors, infants, etc). They even looked in autistic kids born to CFS mothers. Europe and US.

230 autism, 204 controls.

They could not find any proviral XMRV, despite targeting a highly conserved region (Real-Time PCR).

They could not find any antibodies to XMRV in anyone (Western Blot).

Okay, thats just data. Thats not funny. This is whats funny: they basically called "Bullshit!" on Mikovits and WPIs irresponsible comments to the public regarding XMRV and autism, and vaccines, and their clear financial interest in the XMRV-->anything connection:

In an interview given on the same day as the Lombardi publication, Dr Mikovits stated that they had found XMRV in a 'significant number' of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) samples and speculated that 'this might even explain why vaccines lead to autism in some children' [6]. Shortly thereafter, widely circulated articles appeared, containing non-peer reviewed data with reports that XMRV may be present in â¥40% of people with autism [7]. Given the recent controversy over the connection between ASD and the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine, a scientific evaluation of these statements is important [8,9].


Mikovits started talking to the media/patients/parents before she had any published science to back up her claims. She increased fear of vaccines. She still hasnt published anything. So I guess we are going to clean up this mess for her.


And then theres this:

BCS and RAG are employees of Cooperative Diagnostics. Cooperative Diagnostics is
a commercial enterprise that owns the rights to the XMRV real-time PCR assay
described in this manuscript, in addition to the Master Mix that was used. Publication of
these results may well reduce the potential market that Cooperative Diagnostics could
reach with its XMRV assay.


Mikovits/WPI are pushing their non-FDA approved, non-quantitative, non-diagnosing 'XMRV and all magic-eye viruses' test to the general public for $$$$$. They have a vested interest in the connection between XMRV and anything.

So did Cooperative Diagnostics.

But Cooperative Diagnostics were honest enough to say "*shrug* We couldnt find shit."


Now, just to be clear, this isnt funny because Mikovits/WPI are wrong (scientifically and philosophically). If Ive said it once, Ive said it a thousand times: Scientists are wrong all the time. This is not novel or weird. Its funny because Mikovits/WPI went out of their way to personally attack researchers that could not replicate their findings. They fear mongered the general public regarding XMRV as a whole, including autism and vaccines, just for fun, I guess, since they arent publishing those now year-old results. They flatly refused to believe they could have made a mistake... despite the fact scientists are wrong all the time!!

Thats Kook Kountry. I like laughing at Kooks.


More like this

LABORATORY #1-- Dr. Myra McClure recently did an interview with ABC Australia on XMRV an what its doing in humans. You probably dont know who she is-- shes just a normal scientist, like the thousands of others going in to work every day that youve never heard of. *shrug* Apparently we are…
I mean for Petes sake:Chronic fatigue syndrome researcher Judy Mikovits arrested I mean, this is funny. No doubt this is funny. Its funny to see The Patient Community defending Mikovits, the woman who said she didnt have a problem lying to patients when it was convenient for her. Its funny to see…
A while back I wrote about how the lead researcher at the Whittemore Peterson Institute, Judy Mikovits, is speaking at Autismone, a huge anti-vax rally in Chicago later this month. I thought Judy was just a crank. Dime a dozen, whatevs. Turns out things are worse than that. Much much worse than…
The very first red flag that something was very, very wrong with the 'XMRV=CFS' paper went up before the actual paper was published. On the woo-rag Huffington Post, the anti-vaxer David Kirby posted a very, very odd comment from the lead researcher on the paper, Judy Mikovits:And then Dr. Mikovits…

You don´t take a break, do you? I am amazed of the bunch of incorrections you say in this post, always focusing on the negative XMRV studies and neglecting the positive ones will not make you to be right.

It is not true that XMRV has not been found in HIV patients, it HAS BEEN FOUND in the study of Irsi Caixa in Spain, they research aids, and they published 3 abstracts compiled in the 1st internationa XMRV Workshop, where they clearly state that XMRV was found in CFS patients, HIV patients, prostate cancer patients and healthy controls as well. So deal with it! Do not give biased information here as you use to do.

We all know there are many NEGATIVE studies, but have they made an exact REPLICA of the methods of Judy Mikowits? NO.
Irsi Caixa in Spain made an EXACT replica and DID FIND XMRV.
Same applies for the positive studies of Kenny De Meirleir, Cheney, Bell, etc... and they DID FIND XMRV.

Also Judy published a study on autistic children in Abstract: P_19 of the 1st international XMRV workshop published in the summary at RETROVIROLOGY, and it was not 40% prevalence, it was 14 out of 17 autistic children that carried XMRV, that is 82%.

I am really bored with your constant personal battle against Judy Mikovits, it really stinks.




the ungrateful bastards full of hubris...


a bullet for your head, traitor

And finally, the *only* man in Minnesota who says there is no God has suddenly become an arbiter on mental health...



I am also very skeptical at this point. The Harvard study was also published this week, and couldn't find anything either:


However, I am still waiting for the ('confusing' according to Coffin) results of the blood working group (that cross checked samples) before I'd call it quits. The results of fase 2 and 3 should be available within the next three weeks and should answer the contamination question.

Holy crap - that's in the competing interest section!?!

Hysterical! It's like the editors were totally in support of the authors flipping off the WPI!

But then... there was another positive prostate cancer study. If the virus is transmitted to and infects humans at the rate being reported in the positive prostate studies, surely the HIV studies should have stumbled across someone with it too? I don't see how XMRV can be related to prostate cancer without it also meaning some of the negative results in CFS studies should have picked up positives - yet McClure seems confident that there is a link to prostate cancer, and not CFS.

News of the positive Alter paper had me thinking that it was pretty likely that there was some sort of link with CFS, but then it turned out it wasn't blinded, the sequences found weren't what was expected...

To me it seems like all these independent studies aren't a very efficient way of progressing here, and something like the tests being run by the Blood Safety group should have been set up last October. They're planning to release results as they come in, so we should hear soon. If those reporting positive associations with CFS no longer do so when provided with blinded samples, we'll know they messed up. Easy.

(I've no science background, but am now pretty sure I should be made head of science.)

The damage may already be done.

I donated blood the other day, and there was a whole new page on CFS asking people if they had CFS or if they had ever had CFS to not donate.

This is new because it wasn't there when I donated 9 weeks earlier, and they called me only a week after I was eligible to donate again. I donate regularly, but being called a week after being eligible is very fast, and may indicate an actual blood shortage.

Sure enough, there are news articles about a critical shortage of blood, particularly O negative (which is not my type).

If they are now turning away people because of this bogus XMRV virus crap then the shortages could cause real problems.

Won't stop the anti-science* wing of the autism community


Strategies for Behavioral Management for Autism Spectrum Disorders - Nov. 22-23, 2010 - Calgary, AB

Breakthrough News: David Kirby will discuss the recent research by Judy Mikovitz of the University of Nevada. Dr. Mikovitz helped discover that XMRV retrovirus was present in 95% of people with chronic fatigue, and she also found in 40% of a small sample of ASD kids. So far, virtually all of the kids whose moms have XMRV and chronic fatigue also have the XMRV virus.

*there's a pro-science pro-rationality wing of the autism community. It's strong--just not as well-funded for public outreach as the anti-science wing.

See for example




The autism study Mikovits has mentioned is a joint venture by the WPI and Frank Ruscetti at the NCI. Results were presented at the XMRV workshop. You should first ask who the patients in this study were, they do not say, and nor do they say who the CFS parents were. They also calibrated to a synthetic sample again - so can they detected wild XMRV?


I can do you one better: Mine mentioned XMRV.

I suppose they might want to be cautious about CFS in general, but I'm sure this wouldn't be happening without XMRV.

Here in the UK, a friend with CFS following glandular fever was told she had to stop donating blood "because of XMRV". Despite the fact that she had a clearly differnt aetiology for hers, and that the link with XMRV is almost certainly bovine excrement anyway.

By stripey_cat (not verified) on 16 Oct 2010 #permalink

You talk (write) like a sailor. Totally unprofessional, which taints your commentary and casts aspersions on your conclusions. I'm in favor of hearing all points of view, but the gutter language makes me wonder if your conclusions match your language. I encourage you to raise the level of your oratory/writing, and you will raise the level of respect people give to your conclusions. Just the cold, hard facts and straightforward, dignified conclusions, please. The choice is yours, of course.

By Jack Dignan (not verified) on 16 Oct 2010 #permalink

Jack Dignan, indignant.

By nejishiki (not verified) on 16 Oct 2010 #permalink

Jack, if you trying to understand science based on it being written in a "professional tone", and with "dignified conclusions", your science mojo is made of fail.

If you can't recognize facts and logic when written in lolspeak, how do you expect to recognize bogus pseudoscience crap when it is written in a professional and dignified tone?

Recognizing bogus pseudoscience crap is pretty easy, and is one of the most important abilities to have in reading the scientific literature. Recognizing what is simply wrong is much harder and a much more important skill. To do that, you need to know the literature and understand the science. Until you do know the literature and do understand the science, you can't judge what might be right and what is wrong.

I didn't read the blood donor stuff carefully enough to remember if it mentioned XMRV, but I am sure that the XMRV scare and hype is the reason.

You would be failed out of my class and reported to the university for your comments. This blog of yours will cost you jobs well into the future. All because you could not keep your still ignorant and nasty comments to yourself.
Soon, young lady, you will not be able to find a job or be published in the real world when this blog hits the light of day - and it will.
Read, listen,research and stop this foolish pandering for web hits.

By Dr. Martin White (not verified) on 16 Oct 2010 #permalink





Jack: What daedalus2u said.

I would add that in my experience, both in online discussions with others and with my own initial reactions to statements that challenge my opinions, a strong reaction against HOW someone says something is a warning sign. It suggests that you wish to object, but can't object to the substance of the statement. And if you can object to the substance, but choose to focus on tone instead, you're wasting everyone's time, including your own. At least unless the discussion was about tone in the first place.

I also find it a bit surprising that you felt the need to object given the context of this blog in particular and the blogosphere in general. Are you relatively new to the Internet?

DOCTOR Martin White (IF that's your real name! Heh. Sorry, I couldn't resist): That goes double for you. You might also do well to remember that not only does tone cut both ways (niceness can be just as dickish as snark...just ask the Brits), so does the Internet. Do YOU have a career and professional prestige that might be harmed by public veiled threats and indignant harrumphings at "nasty" "young ladies?"




(how dare you suggest Im drunk commenting while watching the OU game, sir!)

I raise my New Glarus Brewery Moon Man to you. Cheers! :)


Not at all. Jack Dignan and Dr. Martin White are quite correct; how can anyone ever take ERVs clearly elucidated and quite explicit points about a (manufactured) scientific controversy seriously, when she lays them out in a well thought out and referenced manner, but which entirely neglects the current fashions of correct grammar?

Why, by that oversight alone, she renders it entirely impossible for any respondent who might disagree with her to make substantive points.

Oh, but how they would dearly love to make a meaningful contributions to the discussion. To cite relevant evidence and make strong counterpoints where they disagree (if weâre very lucky, ones that donât involve wild conspiracies by the CDC). Oh how theyâd love to do something, anything, but whine over tone.

Sadly this is impossible and that fact is undoubtedly and entirely Abbieâs fault.

Abbie, for the sake of good scientific debate, your own future career, marital prospects, reputation in polite society and the sake of those darling children you might still yet bear (if all this LOLSpeak hasnât withered your ovaries already), I beseech you to cease writing in such an easily accessible manner.

It just isnât seemly.

Mr Jack Dignan seems to have been having some troubles with MS Word: "Word crashes during print with {PRINT \p pic} Jack Dignan (10/22/04); Mail merge data loss from Access EQ" according to Le Goog. Understandable, then, if he feels a bit put out by things' adversity. John Dignant, indeed, poor thing.

Dr Martin White on the other hand appears to be a little more dual of a nature: there is one orthopedic Connecticutlerian surgeon, one hematologist and internist Texan and a waffle of Dr Martens shoes, according to the same source. It would be anyone's guess which boot fits the foot.

Or just tone them out. Who needs the static, it hurts the head. I'm a radio station. I'm a little bit corny. I'm a wiiiildwood flower... Oh, sorry. Wrong station, that would be J. Mitchell.

Tone trolls are the dullest things on the internets.

By The Chimp's Ra… (not verified) on 17 Oct 2010 #permalink


Just for clarification, do you mean "Im totally done with XMRV-->CFS" in the same way that Myra "Nothing on God's earth" McClure meant she was completely done with XMRV/CFS? She appears to have slipped a bit in her resolve because I believe she co-authored one of those new zero/zero XMRV studies you are referring to in your comments.

As for Cooperative Diagnostics, they took their XMRV test off the market last year I believe. They asked you to send in one drop of blood in the mail and charged victims $400 to tell folks they were all XMRV negative. Never any positives. Can you get a valid PCR result with one drop of blood? Wow!

The study I am looking forward to is the upcoming one by "I have no horse in this race" Dr. Lipkin, which was set up by Dr. Fauci recently. Sounds like he will use some impressive methodology, and he is not tied in with psychiatrists like Dr. McClure is.

Interesting your comment about no XMRV in aids patients inferring there is no disease entity related to XMRV. You are the expert; do you find a lot of MS or polio in AIDs patients? There must be some diseases that HIV+ patients don't get in abundance, or are you serious?

Don't worry about the tone Nazis, please just get the science right for your readers and keep explaining things are clearly as you do.

Levi, MS isn't infectious and polio is nearly wiped out.

Many, many pathogens were initially discovered in AIDs patients. If there is a supposedly ubiquitous virus floating around in the population, odds are if anyone has it, AIDS patients do.

Hi CG,

Polio is like a bad penny that just keeps coming back when public health authorities think it has been finally stamped out:
http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE69009Y20101001 Particularly in Africa where AIDS is rampant. I could find no published works concerning AIDS patients with polio.

As for MS, it is debatable if it is infectious or not. We non-scientists are prone to use Wikipedia, and they say: "Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are suspected of involvement in some autoimmune diseases, in particular with multiple sclerosis. In this disease, there appears to be a specially associated member of the family of human endogenous retrovirus W known as "MS-associated retrovirus" (MSRV).

Some work has been done looking at HERV's and EBV as viral cofactors in triggering MS. (see http://www.jneurovirol.com/pdf/6(s2)/s76-s79.pdf) And epidemiologists have been looking at MS clusters for a long time, with no definite results either way.

On another matter, my Wikipedia explorations on HERV's revealed this bit:

"In 2007, a collaborative group lead by Doug Nixon and Keith Garrison at the University of California San Francisco, and by Mario Ostrowski and Brad Jones at the University of Toronto, published a study providing evidence for T cell immune responses against HERVs in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected individuals.[14] The group hypothesized that HIV induces HERV expression in HIV infected cells, and that a vaccine targeting HERV antigens could therefore specifically eliminate HIV infected cells. The potential advantage of this novel approach is that, by using HERV antigens as surrogate markers of HIV infected cells, it could circumvent the difficulty inherent in directly targeting notoriously diverse and rapidly mutating HIV antigens."

I would be interested in ERV's thoughts on this approach to developing an HIV vaccine.

What you mean is that the research is now about to turn against your infantile arguments, and that you have nothing useful to add anymore.

Interesting. Someone like Martin White appeared on my blog, in an article about how your Blogger account was yanked with no explanation, threatening that people like him were archiving all your articles to make sure that a nasty young thing like you never got a job. I took Jaranath's tack and pointed out to him that he had just exposed his vindictiveness on the Indelible Internet. And that got me thinking... funny how your Blogger account disappeared right after you pointed out that certain copyright violations by creationists.

Thanks for the evaluation of the XMRV research, by the way.